Dealing With The Most Common Aches and Pains of Hairdressing

Busy days in the salon can be great – unless you are struggling with pain as a result of the job.

Studies have suggested that up to 71% of hairdressers suffer from work related injuries, ranging from back pain and sore feet to painful Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, that can sometimes require surgery.

But, what can you do about it? For most hairdressers, a new career just simply isn’t an option, especially when it’s your passion as well as your income.

Is Hairdressing Hard on Your Body?

While hairdressing has many perks, one of the major downsides is the impact it can have on your body.

You might not think it, but hairdressing really is high risk when it comes to injury. Standing up all day, using repetitive motions and often little time to take a proper break – hairdressing can be really be hard on the body.

Some of the most common pain complaints hairdressers experience are:

  • Repetitive Strain Injury
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trapped nerves
  • Tendinitis
  • Varicose veins
  • Postural fatigue

Add to this the stress of a busy workplace, skipped lunches and often large amounts of caffeine to keep you going, and a day as a hairdresser can leave you feeling exhausted!

So, if you do begin to experience any aches or pains, it’s important to try and address them right away so they don’t turn into anything more serious.

Do You Experience Any of These Common Hairdressing Aches & Pains?

Do any of these pains sound familiar to you? Take a look and see what you can do to help relieve them…

Tired hands and arms

Do your hands and arms ache, feel numb or tingle after a long day cutting hair?

You may be suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

Unfortunately, the nature of hairdressing puts you at high risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which happens when the medium nerve is squeezed. The repetitive motion of using your hairdressing scissors is the culprit here and can really affect your ability to do your job.

What can you do about it?

If you think you have developed CTS, you should see your doctor for advice on what you should do about it.

If you are worried about developing it in the future, there are certain things you can do to reduce your risk.

One of the easiest ways to prevent overuse injuries as a hairdresser is to invest in the best quality hairdressing scissors. You need to find a pair that is as sharp and light as possible with a smooth cutting action to reduce the pressure along your forearm. If they have a tension screw, try to keep it as loose as possible while still being able to control the scissors well enough.

Related: A Guide to Hairdressing Scissors

Offset or crane shape handles are said to help improve your posture by keeping your shoulders and elbow straight and minimising your wrist movements.

In addition, give yourself a few minutes throughout the day to flex your hands and arms. Giving a stress ball a few squeezes before stretching your fingers out is a good way to release some strain.

Or, stretch your arm out in front of you with your palms facing up. With your other hand, gently push your fingers down and towards you, then repeat with the other arm.

Shop Hairdressing Scissors

If you are regularly using hair dryers throughout the day, see if you can find a lighter one that can dry hair quicker – the less time you spend holding heavy tools in repetitive positions, the better.

The Elchim 8th Sense Run Lily Rose Edition not only looks stylish, but weights only 400g with a reduced drying time. The weight is also specifically balanced for hairdressers, allow the hand to stay more relaxed, which can also help prevent the development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Related: The Best Lightweight Hair Dryers For Your Salon

Hairdressing Back Pain

If you experience back pain as a hairdresser, you certainly are not alone!

Pain in the upper back and between the shoulder blades is a common complaint among hairdressers. It’s usually the result of standing on your feet all day, paired with having to keep your arms in a similar position for long periods of time.

What can you do about it?

Back pain is a serious problem to suffer. So, even if you are a hairdresser, don’t just shrug it off as being part of the job. See a doctor or chiropractor if the pain keeps getting worse.

There are things you can do to prevent back pain as a hairdresser. Firstly, try keeping an adjustable salon stool at your station. Sitting down can help ease the pressure on your lower pack, while adjusting yourself to a more comfortable height might be able to reduce some of the strain on your shoulders and neck.

Lotus Havana Cutting Stool

It’s also important to keep your back as strong as possible. Taking up Pilates could offer some protection against future pain. If you have an existing back problem though, make sure you let your instructor know before you start any new exercises.

Aching Feet

Another symptom of being on your feet all day is, of course, aching feet.

Foot pain is uncomfortable, but it can also lead to other problems. If you can’t stand on your feet properly, you will likely develop a bad posture, leading to further back pain and joint problems.

What can you do about it?

First of all, check the shoes you wear to the salon. You might think that image is important as a hairdresser, but don’t sacrifice your health for the sake of shoes that look the part, but don’t offer the right support. Adding orthopedic insoles into your shoes can also help, as will doing your best to distribute your weight evenly across both feet.

For even more relief, consider using floor mat, such as the Hair Tools Anti Fatigue Mat. The harder the surface you stand on, the more strain and impact you are placing on your feet, legs and back. A hairdressing mat provides you with cushioning to ease aching feet and protect your back.

Swollen legs and ankles

Another side-effect many hairdressers experience from being on their feet all day is swollen legs or ankles. Standing up for long periods of time can reduce circulation, leading to blood pooling in your lower limbs. Over time, this can lead to varicose veins.

What can you do about it?

Exercising to keep your circulation strong is vital when you are a hairdresser. Even just going for a brisk walk after work can help get blood pumping around your body again.

Another huge help is compression socks and tights. These add continuous pressure to your legs throughout the day, encouraging circulation and reducing swelling and minimising varicose veins.

At Salons Direct, we stock The Intelligent Legging which is a fantastic solution for hairdressers suffering from aching legs. Perfect for wearing with salon uniforms, they combine shapewear, compression wear and outerwear into one brilliant functional product.

Find out more about The Intelligent Legging here.

REMEMBER – if you are worried at all about any pain you are experiencing as a hairdresser, see your doctor. They can rule out any other causes of your problems and give you the best advice possible.

Looking for more professional hair salon supplies? Shop our leading range online today at Salons Direct

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